Ninotchka setting / FRI 9-26-14 / Brewer of Schlitz nowadays / Fad dance of 1930s / Asian tourist magnet / Like Tik-Tok in Land of Oz / Philosopher who wrote superstition is religion of feeble minds / Banned items at Wimbledon
Friday, September 26, 2014
Constructor: Patrick Berry
Relative difficulty: Easy-Medium
Word of the Day: PABST (1D: Brewer of Schlitz, nowadays) —
The Pabst Brewing Company is an American company that dates its origins to a brewing company founded in 1844 by Jacob Best and by 1889 named after Frederick Pabst. It is currently the holding company contracting for the brewing of over two dozen brands of beer and malt liquor from defunct companies including G. Heileman Brewing Company, Lone Star Brewing Company, Pearl Brewing Company, Piels Bros., National Brewing Company,Olympia Brewing Company, Primo Brewing & Malting Company, Rainier Brewing Company, F & M Schaefer Brewing Company, Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company and Stroh Brewery Company.The company is also responsible for the brewing of Ice Man Malt Liquor, St. Ides High Gravity Malt Liquor, and retail versions of beers from McSorley's Old Ale House and Southampton Publick House (of Southampton, New York).
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AGRA and OMAN and INGE are common, but they are very much real things *and* please say hello to their little friends AIRHORNS ARGONAUTS BACKTALKS BINGONIGHT and SLEEPER HIT. The gap between the quality of this puzzle and the quality of the average puzzle this week is stunning. It's an education, actually. A friend of mine looked at the data from another crossword website, where all major and many minor puzzles are rated by users on a star system. Now I've never put too much store in this system, for a variety of reasons, but the numbers are nonetheless compelling: out of roughly 750 puzzles rated this calendar year, three of the lowest-rated eleven puzzles were from this week's NYT. The NYT had seven puzzles in the top 40 for the year, and three of those were made by ... [drum roll] … yeah, Patrick Berry. So if you line up the NYT puzzles from this week so far, you can see how great Patrick Berry is, or you can see how far the NYT's standards have fallen away from the ideal. Or both. Or neither, I guess, but "neither" is gonna be a tough one to defend.
Here's something I can fault this puzzle for—I can't believe there are so many "-ING"s. And all interlocking! Is the NYT not embarrassed by such redundancy, such cheap trickery, such shoddy constructionship!? I mean SPIRITING, BUMMING, UMPING, ROCKING … where will it end!? OK, it ends there, but my fake-outrage stands.
I got thrown a bit by 1D: Brewer of Schlitz, nowadays (PABST), because my first thought was PABST, but then I thought, "Oh, wait, no, it's that damned Russian company that just bought PABST and all the other old beer imprints, the one mentioned on the "Colbert Report" the other day … What Is Their Name!?" But they weren't relevant to the clue. PABST still brews Schlitz, despite the change in parent company. Ap-parent-ly.
Please enjoy your Friday. I'm gonna do this puzzle again, from scratch, just for fun.
Signed, Rex Parker, King of CrossWorld
P.S. I have mentally reclued 24D: Hard-to-escape situation. It's now [What yesterday's puzzle could've used?]